Many dog lovers all over the world agree: bigger is always better. But what are the 10 biggest dog breeds in the world? What are their histories? How do they fit into families, farms, and communities today?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 biggest dog breeds in the world, along with lots of information about each. If you’re looking for a giant doggo to add to your family, these 10 breeds are a great start.
Note: For each of these dog breeds, female dogs tend to be at the lower end to middle of weight and height ranges, with male dogs ranging from the middle to the high end. An individual dog’s behavior towards strangers or other dogs depends largely on their training and socialization. However, it is important to keep in mind the instinctual characteristics of each breed, which is why we’ve included information about general behavior tendencies.
Biggest Dog Breeds
10. Landseer (or Landseer Newfoundland)
Average Weight: 99-150 lbs (45-68 kg)
Average Height: 26-31 in (66-79 cm)
The Landseer can trace its origins back to Great Britain and Switzerland of the 1700s. They’re related to a variety of giant dog breeds, including the Saint Bernard, the Great Pyrenees, and the Newfoundland. In a few countries, the Landseer is considered to be the same breed as the Newfoundland. While there are many similarities between the two breeds, the Landseer has its own distinctive characteristics. These include thick fur that is a mix of brown or black and white, and webbed feet specifically for swimming. Like the Newfoundland, the Landseer has been beloved for generations. Notably, Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie had a Landseer named Luath.
Landseers are well-loved for a reason. They have calm, obedient, and loyal personalities. Landseers make great family dogs, since they’re great with children and with strangers. They are energetic and surprisingly agile. If you choose to adopt a Landseer, prepare to give them a lot of exercise. This can include swimming, which they adore. When it comes to training, take into account that a Landseer is emotionally sensitive. It helps to use a calm and confident tone of voice, and to be patient. This is Obelix…
9. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Average Weight: 110-150 pounds (50-68 kilograms)
Average Height: 24-28 inches (61-71 cm)
These striking herding dogs trace their legacy back to the farm dogs Julius Caesar brought over the Alps to the rest of Europe. Rural Alpine farmers have employed “Swissies” for all sorts of herding, pulling, and protective tasks over the centuries. Despite its long history, the AKC only fully recognized this breed in 1995. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog, sharing its coloring and patterns. However, their fur is shorter and denser than the Bernese. It’s also a component breed for both the Saint Bernard and the Rottweiler.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs have great temperaments and make wonderful family dogs. They’re great with kids, strangers, and are super affectionate. They’re also easy to train, and will be eager to please you. As a big working dog, they have a lot of energy and will need a lot of exercise and mental activity. As a rule, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are just okay when interacting with other dogs. It’s best to keep them in a house where they’re the only pup. One of the biggest dog breeds you will ever set eyes on. Image via…
8. Neapolitan Mastiff
Average Weight: 110-150 lbs but can easily weigh over 150 (50-68 kg)
Average Height: 25-28 in (63.5-71 cm)
Neapolitan Mastiffs show up in the historical record as far back as 700 BCE! Also called the Mastino, these intimidating dogs guarded the villas of the wealthy in Ancient Rome. In the past, they’ve also joined boar hunts. Today, they come in shades of dark brown, gray, and black. Their huge, hanging jowls are their distinguishing feature. In the Harry Potter movie series, Hagrid’s dog Fang was played by multiple Neapolitan Mastiffs.
Neapolitan Mastiffs retain centuries of guard dog behavior. If you choose one, prepare for them to be more reserved and cautious around strangers. Those who love them know they’ll save their love for their family. Neapolitan Mastiffs aren’t particularly energetic, but you should still give them regular exercise to keep them from becoming overweight. A Neapolitan Mastiff does best in a family with older kids, or one where the younger kids are used to dogs. As a rule, Neapolitan Mastiffs are all right with other dogs. The main downside of loving a Neapolitan Mastiff is the large amounts of doggy drool.
7. Tibetan Mastiff
Average Weight: 75-160 lbs (34-72.5 kg)
Average Height: 24-30 in (61-76 cm)
We know very little about this ancient guard dog breed. However, we do know they originally intimidated strangers and intruders throughout the Himalayas. Historians theorize all mastiff breeds originated from the fluffy Tibetan Mastiff. Since their genetic lineage spread throughout the world, they also theorize foreign visitors to Tibet would frequently receive these giant dogs as gifts. From there, their protective natures and surprisingly agile grace won over royals and commoners alike.
Since Tibetan Mastiffs have a long history of guarding, they tend to be more reserved around strangers. They’re also better with older kids or young kids who are used to dogs. Despite their cautious natures, they tend to have a mellow attitude at home and are okay with other dogs. While they have an average amount of physical energy, they will need regular mental activities and tasks. These will keep their minds in good shape and engage them with their world. This is Everest…
Average Weight: 90-160 lbs (41-72.5 kg)
Average Height: 26-31 in (66-79 cm)
Even though Leonbergers are now classed as a working breed, they were originally meant to be companion dogs. Heinrich Essig, a businessman from Leonberg, Germany, crossbred Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and other giant breeds to create the Leonberger. He meant to breed a dog which would make the perfect companion for 19th century European royalty. Luckily for Essig, it worked! The Leonberger won the hearts of noble Europeans as well as farmers and laborers.
Leonbergers make wonderful family dogs. They’re great with kids of all ages and show lots of affection to family, friends, and strangers. In terms of getting along with other dogs, they’re about average. Leonbergers have an average amount of physical energy, and will need regular mental stimulation and tasks to accomplish. They love swimming and playing in water, and have a waterproof coat.
5. Irish Wolfhound
Average Weight: 115-180 lbs (52-81 kg)
Average Height: 32-35 in (81-89 cm)
Irish Wolfhounds have a long history. Historians theorize they were originally a crossbreed of large dogs native to Britain and long-bodied racing dogs bartered from the Middle East. Records of their existence date from before the Roman Empire! For thousands of years, these giants were primarily used in big game hunting. As their name suggests, they were particularly good at hunting wolves. They were so good at their job, in fact, that by the mid 19th century, there were barely any wolves left in Great Britain. The breed nearly went extinct as a result. Thankfully, interest revived in 1862, and the Irish Wolfhound has enjoyed popularity ever since.
In general, Irish Wolfhounds are very patient with kids. However, you should supervise them around very young children. Irish Wolfhounds do make great family dogs, and show a lot of affection towards those in their group. Since they retain their protective instincts, they tend to be more reserved around strangers. Thousands of years as watchdogs and protectors have also made them very vigilant. They do well with other dogs.
4. Saint Bernard
Average Weight: 120-180 lbs (54-81 kg)
Average Height: 26-35 in (66-89 cm)
The Saint Bernard has been a beloved breed since 1050 CE. A group of Alpine monks crossbred a few giant breeds to serve as powerful and sturdy rescue dogs for stranded mountain travelers. While they didn’t carry flasks of brandy, as popular legend suggests, the Saint Bernard was still a welcome sight to lost and snow-trapped mountaineers. They’re also a recognizable breed in pop culture. The character Nana in the Disney movie Peter Pan is a Saint Bernard, for example. Saint Bernards also make prominent and memorable main characters in films like Cujo and the Beethoven series.
Saint Bernards are well-loved as family dogs. They’re great with children of all ages and incredibly affectionate with their family group. While they’re okay around other dogs, they do tend to be wary of strangers. Even though they tend to be relaxed couch potatoes, you should still give them regular exercise to prevent them from gaining too much weight. One downside to loving this giant breed is the large amounts of drool. We recommend keeping a towel on standby. One of the biggest dog breeds out there today.
3. Great Dane
Average Weight: 99-200 lbs (45-91 kg)
Average Height: 28-32 in (71-81 cm)
Despite their English name, the Great Dane breed actually originated in Germany, not Denmark. In fact, it’s known as the German Dog, or German Mastiff, in its native country and language. This distinctive breed is over 400 years old. Through its long history, the Great Dane was used to hunt big game like wild boar, and to protect the estates and carriages of the wealthy. For a long time, only the wealthy could own Great Danes. Now, they’re known as an affectionate family dog and protector.
Even though their ancestors were aggressive hunters, time has mellowed this breed into a loving and gentle giant. Great Danes are super affectionate with family and great with kids. They’re okay with other dogs and okay around strangers, though they do often make vigilant and protective watchdogs. Great Danes have very high physical and mental energy needs. If you choose a Great Dane, be prepared to take them on long walks or give them free reign of a really big yard.
2. Caucasian Shepherd
Average Weight (Male): 110-220 lbs (50-100 kg)
Average Height: 25-30 in (63.5-76 cm)
The Caucasian Shepherd dog goes by many names, including the Ovcharka, the Caucasian Sheepdog, and the Russian Bear Dog. While similar huge breeds have been around for millennia, this specific breed only entered the dog show ring in the 1930s. It’s theorized that this breed makes part of the bloodline of Asian mastiff breeds and sheepdogs of the Balkans. For centuries, these intimidating dogs have helped the farmers of Eastern Europe and the Middle East by protecting livestock and helping with the heavy lifting of farm labor. Their dense, waterproof coats help them herd in snowy mountain conditions.
In spite of their caution around strangers, Caucasian Shepherds are kind and loving to family members, including other pets. They retain centuries of protective and independent instincts. These make them less than welcoming to other dogs, and very vigilant.
1. English Mastiff
Average Weight: 120-230 lbs (54-104 kg)
Average Height: 28-36 in (71-91 cm)
When Julius Caesar made it to the shores of Great Britain, the massive guard dogs of the native islanders impressed him. He then brought the English Mastiff back to Rome, where they fought gladiators and aided in big game hunts. English Mastiffs made excellent hunters and guard dogs throughout the Medieval period. Writers and artists of the day, including Chaucer, recognized their courage. In today’s world, these dogs are generally more docile in nature. However, their huge size still makes them intimidating.
English Mastiffs make wonderful and affectionate family dogs. They’re fantastic with kids of all ages. Though they’re gentle giants, they do retain some guard dog instincts, making them wary and cautious around strangers. They’re okay when interacting with other dogs. While you should give any dog proper exercise, English Mastiffs have an average amount of physical energy and mental stimulation needs. Otto…
Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.